Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday Post: Weekly Wrap-Up (11.29)

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, showcase books, share upcoming news, etc. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme

My Life This Week:
Between my husband's birthday last week, my brother's birthday this week, and of course, Thanksgiving, we've been keeping busy. Then add in my middle son's soccer tournament this weekend, and not a lot of reading has been getting done. But it's been a great week of family and friend time, so no complaints here. There is much I am thankful for. I hope all of you are having a lovely weekend as well. 

What I Read Last Week:

Hearts of Blue by LH Cosway

My Reviews Last Week:
Hearts of Blue by LH Cosway (my 4 star review)
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (my 5+ star review)

What I'm Currently Reading:

Lightning Kissed by Lila Felix

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (137)

STSmall_thumb[2][2]Stacking The Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews, is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

*Signed* Hardcover Beauties:
(Shh... don't tell my kids.)
Winter by Marissa Meyer
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School by Jeff Kinney
Magnus Chase: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

eARC Goodie:

Lightning Kissed by Lila Felix

For My Kindle:
Powerless by Tera Lynn Childs & Tracy Deebs
A Lover's Lament by KL Grayson

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
(The Illuminae Files #1)
October 20, 2015
599 pages
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Contains: blacked-out profanity (referenced, but not written; literally blacked-out), sexual references (only some referencing, no sex), violence, death
Source: ARC for Honest review

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Wow! I'm so impressed by 'Illuminae.' My husband read this book first, and couldn't recommend it enough. I can now understand why. The crafting of Kaufman and Kristoff to first imagine, and then figure out how to create this fascinating novel, is quite impressive. But it would have fallen flat if not for the additional level of humanity and character it also displayed brilliantly.

From the start, we are thrust into action, intensity, and suspense. Kady and Ezra just happened to break up the day their planet was doomed. As Kady and Ezra are rescued, they are not out of danger yet. Not even close. What proceeds after the attack is nothing short of addicting. Who attacked them? Why? Are they going to be able to flee fast enough to get out of mortal danger? Who's in charge? Who survived? Will Kady and Ezra reconcile? And so many more questions.

But I will not go into detail. Because I really loved the journey this book took me on. It was a wild ride. So many twists and turns. A rich bevy of secondary characters. Truly heartbreaking situations to experience. Heartfelt depths I wasn't expecting. Danger at every turn. And a love story that felt like it spanned the universe. The stars of the show are definitely Kady and Ezra. I absolutely loved these two. And the AI took it to a whole new level.

The size of this book may be intimidating (almost 600 pages), but it is completely worth it. And it goes quickly, as it is constructed around an amazing conglomeration of documents, emails, IMs, schematics, files, reports, interviews, and some very creative usage of word play and graphing. The uniqueness of this book is stellar. I loved how all the pages and their graphics were displayed.

I absolutely loved 'Illuminae' and highly recommend it. The end of this book leaves us in a good place. No major cliffhanger or anything. But it does leave us with a taste for the future. I cannot wait to see what amazing things these authors think of next!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Review, Excerpt & Giveaway Tour: Hearts of Blue by LH Cosway

Hearts of Blue by LH Cosway
(Hearts #4)
November 19, 2015
273 Pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance 18+
Contains: language, sex
Source: eARC for Honest review

She upholds the law. He breaks it. 

Two blue hearts, both alike in bravery
In not-so-fair London, where we lay our scene
From gun crime to petty theft
Where family is blood and survival makes hands unclean
In this place, we find two hearts who should be foes
And yet, amidst the turmoil their love still grows
Misadventure abounds and the divide will bring them strife
But with luck, death doesn’t always mean an end to life.

Hearts of Blue is a standalone contemporary romance that tells the story of star-crossed lovers Karla Sheehan and Lee Cross, a police constable and the thief who steals her heart.

I had been truly looking forward to Karla and Lee's story in 'Hearts of Blue' and I was not disappointed. Cosway has a beautiful way of allowing the reader to really walk in the shoes of her characters. This time around, we are journeying along with Karla the Police Officer and Lee the Criminal. We barely met these two in 'King of Hearts' and could already feel their chemistry then, so I knew their story would be good.

What I loved was the exploration of not just what these characters do (or did), but why they do it. The motivation, the desperation, the inclination, all of these and more are explored, and with that we get a much deeper picture of Lee and Karla. One minute I'm indignant alongside Karla, the next minute I'm sympathizing with Lee. Back and forth. Which at times made their relationship exhausting. But really, they had many, many obstacles to overcome, and quite honestly, I often wondered if they would get a happy ending.

But I genuinely loved getting to know Lee and Karla. Their romance was endearing but edgy. These two, I tell you, kept me on my toes. But when they were good, they were very good. They had a lovely chemistry and a real, deep-down respect for one another that was tangible. I could not help but root for them to finally have all their ducks line up. And let me reinforce, if I didn't mention it before, that I loved Lee Cross! Then add in some fantastic secondary characters (Hello, Cross Brothers!) and this was a truly enjoyable read.

While this one wasn't quite as "artsy" as the previous books in this series, I still really enjoyed it and loved Lee and Karla's story. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next books already hinted at to continue this series.

Lee didn’t answer, and instead he took a step forward, forcing me to back up if I didn’t want us to collide. The problem with this meant my back hit the wall a moment later.

“You’re so pretty, Snap,” he said, voice low, as he dropped his face to my hair and breathed in.

I wasn’t wearing a hat, and my hair was tied up in a bun. My entire body trembled when he wrapped his arms around my waist, inhaled deeply and pulled me into a hug. This was a distraction, I knew it, and yet, I let him distract me. I wanted to be distracted, and I was just glad that the blinds in his office had been pulled.

Standing in his embrace for at least a minute with silence all around us, I was unable to move. I liked having Lee close, loved the feel of him and how he could make feel so…surrounded. Despite all the warning signs, my attraction to him only grew stronger. There was just something about him that called to me.


His mouth moved against my hair. “What is it, Karla?”

“Why are you hugging me?”

“You looked like you needed to be held.” His response was low, and the affectionate undertone had me swallowing deeply. At long last I summoned the willpower to break the hug. His arms fell away from me easily, my stomach churning with confusion. What the hell was I doing?

I stared at the floor when I spoke. “I have to go.”

Heading for the door, I paused when he said gently, “Hey, I needed it, too.”

L.H. Cosway has a BA in English Literature and Greek and Roman Civilisation, and an MA in Postcolonial Literature. She lives in Dublin city. Her inspiration to write comes from music. Her favourite things in life include writing stories, vintage clothing, dark cabaret music, food, musical comedy, and of course, books. She thinks that imperfect people are the most interesting kind. They tell the best stories.

Mailing List:

Competition prizes:
1st prize:
Signed paperback copies of the entire ‘Hearts’ series.
L.H. Cosway swag.
$25 Amazon gift card.
2nd prize:
Signed copy of Hearts of Blue.
L.H. Cosway swag.
$10 Amazon gift card.

L.H. Cosway Hearts of Blue Release Week Giveaway

As a special treat, the author will write a bonus scene after the tour ends. There will be a poll on her FB page – to vote for the scene in which they would like to see in the male POV – winning scene will be announced at the end of the tour

Tour Poll for Male Pov Scene:
Which scene from Hearts of Blue would you most like to read from Lee’s perspective?
A.) The football riot scene.
B.) The warehouse rave scene.
C.) Karla & Lee’s ‘first time’ at the night club.

Six of Hearts
My Review
Hearts of Fire
My Review
Amazon | Smashwords | B&N | Kobo | iTunes
King of Hearts
My Review

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday Post: Weekly Wrap-Up (11.22)

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, showcase books, share upcoming news, etc. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme

What I Read Last Week:
Lincoln and Douglas: The Years of Decision by Regina Z Kelly
A Cowboy Firefighter for Christmas by Kim Redford
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

My Reviews Last Week:
Easton's Everything by Amy Gregory (my 3.5 to 4 star review)
Campaigning for Christopher by Katy Regnery (my 5 star review)

What I'm Currently Reading:
Hearts of Blue by LH Cosway
Embraced by Jus Accardo

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (136)

STSmall_thumb[2][2]Stacking The Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews, is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

*Signed* Paperback Pretty:

November 9 by Colleen Hoover
(Despite not liking the book, I couldn't resist seeing Colleen Hoover again. I'm still a big fan!)

Hardcover Beauty:

#NERD Anniversary Edition by Cambria Hebert

eARC Excitement:

Ninja at First Sight by Penny Reid
(More Penny Reid!!!)

For My Kindle:

12 Christmas Romances to Melt Your Heart by Various Authors
(Only 99 cents, and for charity. I couldn't resist.)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Review: Campaigning for Christopher by Katy Regnery

Campaigning for Christopher by Katy Regnery
(The Winslow Brothers #4)
November 17, 2015
231 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance 18+
Contains: sex, language
Source: eARC for Honest review

Christopher Winslow, the youngest of the four Winslow brothers, was born with a silver spoon in his privileged mouth, which has made it difficult for him to establish his credibility in the fast-approaching congressional race. Working against the clock to assure Pennsylvania voters that he is forthright, trustworthy and able has been an exhausting challenge, but Christopher's chances at beating the incumbent look good.

Julianne Crow, a plus-size model struggling to make ends meet, jumps at the chance to make a little extra cash on the side. What does she have to do? Slip something into Christopher Winslow's drink and take some very naughty pictures with him.

But Christopher is nothing like Julianne expected, and when her actions sabotage his hard-earned campaign only a month before the election, her guilt is overwhelming. She offers Christopher her help in an effort to repair the damage she's caused, but can anything change the fact that he sees her as an opportunist and a mercenary? When she starts campaigning for Christopher, he may find out there's more to her than meets the eye.

It's no secret that I am a fan of Katy Regnery. The way she strings a romance together, and the family and friend relationships she creates, just hits the spot with me. Now I have my favorite books of hers, and have worried that she would run out of material to create that "magic" I always look forward to. But I needn't worry, because as it turns out, 'Campaigning for Christopher' has actually joined ranks amongst my favorite Regnery novels.

One thing that made this story particularly special was our heroine, Julianne Crow. Julianne is not only a plus-size model, but an American Indian as well, Lakota specifically. I love diversity, but it helps when that diversity is well written. And Julianne was very well written. You couldn't put her in a box. She wasn't just Indian. She wasn't just plus-sized. She wasn't just a model. And she wasn't the just the perpetrator of sabotage she inflicted at the beginning of the book. She was so much more. And I loved getting to know her. She was an incredibly strong character, who despite my initial reservations about due to her misguided treatment of Christopher, truly won me over. I don't know what I liked more, her humility in the beginning of the novel, or her personal integrity at the end. She has to be one of my favorite heroines Regnery has created.

I also loved Christopher. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Chris could not have had a more different upbringing than Julianne. But for all the wealth and privilege he had, Christopher was surprisingly well grounded. He was almost too perfect, which made the situation with Julianne quite awkward, but in the long run, actually quite good for his character. He needed to be shaken up a bit, and though that may not have been her intention, it sure worked out. If I loved Julianne's humility in the beginning, I also loved Christopher's stubbornness. I liked that he needed to learn how to trust, how to forgive, and how to give his heart. Chris's journey was just as important as Julianne's.

And then there's the romance. This was a lovely slow-burn, and I soaked up every minute of it. I loved that they had an intense chemistry to start with, but such unique and fascinating circumstances made the build-up of their relationship truly engaging. The trials and situations they dealt with made getting to their hearts and their feelings that much better. The struggle was realistic and meant something. But the payoff was totally worth it. I was truly enchanted by Christopher and Julianne. They were the perfect end to the Winslow Brothers quartet (though I hope they will make appearances in any spin-off series).

Award-winning and Amazon bestselling author Katy Regnery started her writing career by enrolling in a short story class in January 2012. One year later, she signed her first contract for a winter romance entitled By Proxy.

Now a hybrid author who publishes both independently and traditionally, Katy claims authorship of the six-book Heart of Montana series, the six-book English Brothers series, and a Kindle Worlds novella entitled Four Weddings and a Fiasco: The Wedding Date. Katy’s short story “The Long Way Home” appears in the first Romance Writers of America anthology, Premiere, and she has published two stand-alone novels, Playing for Love at Deep Haven and the Amazon bestseller The Vixen and the Vet, which is book one in Katy’s a m o d e r n f a i r y t a l e collection. The Vixen and the Vet was nominated for a RITA® Award in 2015.

Katy lives in the relative wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, where her writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children, and two dogs create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories begin at home.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Amazon ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

About The English Brothers series:

*All books in The English Brothers series are approximately 200 pages. The RWA classifies this as "Mid-length Contemporary Romance."


Breaking Up with Barrett, The English Brothers, Book #1
My Review --  Amazon  -- Goodreads

Falling for Fitz, The English Brothers, Book #2
My Review -- Amazon -- Goodreads

Anyone but Alex, The English Brothers, Book #3
My Review  --  Amazon  --  Goodreads

Seduced by Stratton, The English Brothers, Book #4
My Review -- Amazon --  Goodreads

Wild about Weston, The English Brothers, Book #5
My Review -- Amazon --  Goodreads 

Kiss Me Kate, The English Brothers, Book #6
My Review ~ Amazon  ~  Goodreads

About The Winslow Brothers series:

*The Winslow Brothers books are a companion series to the English Brothers books, but all can be read as standalones. All books in The Winslow Brothers series are approximately 200 pages. The RWA classifies this as "Mid-length Contemporary Romance."


Bidding on Brooks, The Winslow Brothers, Book #1
My Review ~ Amazon ~ Goodreads

Proposing to Preston, The Winslow Brothers, Book #2
My Review ~ Amazon ~ Goodreads

Crazy about Cameron, The Winslow Brothers, Book #3
My Review ~ Amazon ~ Goodreads

Campaigning for Christopher, The Winslow Brothers, Book #4
My Review ~ Amazon ~ Goodreads